Western Red, Incense, Port Orford and Alaskan Yellow cedars are grouped together for similar performance properties. The heartwood of these species is naturally durable against the harsh effects of exposure to the elements. They are favorites for decks, siding, planters, fences, and other outdoor amenities such as screened porches, greenhouses, pool-side structures, arbors, and trellises. The sapwood of these species also pressure treats well with preservatives for added durability.
Grades for cedar products can be very confusing to the uninitiated because every purveyor seems to offer their own grades. However, there are recognized standard and special grades for cedar products. It is important for designers and specifiers to learn the difference between ALSC-recognized grades (defined by ALSC-certified agencies), the proprietary grades defined through buyer-seller agreements, and marketing names used primarily for promotional purposes.
Refer to the Grades & Quality Control section or the WWPA publication Natural Wood Siding Technical Guide. The ALSC publishes a list of certified agencies, and by permission from ALSC, WWPA makes copies available to designers upon request. (This is a list of certified agencies, not grades and grade descriptions.)
Alaskan (Yellow) Cedar is one of the most beautiful of America's durable softwoods and is sometimes overlooked in favor of more publicized species. However, it is reasonably abundant from Alaska and Canada. It has a fine texture and straight grain, and its nearly yellow color silvers exquisitely upon exposure. Strongly aromatic, it is moderately strong and hard. It is used where weather resistance, stability and workability are needed: bleachers, park benches, exterior cabinet work, stage construction, and marine and commercial landscape installations.